Island Pork Tenderloin

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A few years ago, when I was blogging over on the old blog, I watched on the sidelines as some of my favorite blogs participated in a little event called Eat to the Beat (EttB). EttB was hosted by Elly from Elly Says Opa and it called on bloggers to tap into their inner creativity by relating a song and a food or drink. How fun is that? Like I said though, I was watching from the sidelines, just call me a whimp. But when Elly announced that she was bringing it back for her 5 year blog anniversary, I couldn’t just sit on the sidelines.
Deciding to participate in the event was the easy part. Coming up with a good idea, not so easy. First, I kept thinking of really weird songs, and not coming up with anything to relate them to food. Then I thought it might be easier to make a dish and then try and match it up with a song. Which oddly enough led me to a song with the name of my dish in the title… and “explicit” lyrics. Not really the vibe I was going for. So I took a little break from thinking about it.

Realizing the deadline was fast approaching, I had to start thinking again. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks! This was one of my favorite meals this month AND the song is one of Jesse’s favorites and one I also like. Oh, and no explicit lyrics. Ready for the reveal? For my EttB entry I made Island Pork Tenderloin and the song is ‘Islands‘ by the XX. Sounds like fun? There’s still time to participate! Deadline is November 27th! Read more about it by visiting Elly’s blog!

This pork is possibly the best pork tenderloin I’ve ever had. The meat could be cut with a fork it was so tender and the flavors are dynamic with just a touch of sweet and heat. I can’t wait to make it again when Jesse’s back from China! In the meantime I’ll listen to this song and send him pictures of delicious food with the caption “Wish you were here.” Ok, that last part might be a little mean, I’ll just leave the pictures caption-less. 🙂


Island Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients
*2 pork tenderloins (2 1/4 – 2 1/2 pound total) trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil

Spice Rub:
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Glaze:
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
2 Tbsp Pineapple juice
Splash of Tabasco sauce

*I cut this recipe in half when I made it, halved it would feed about 3 people.

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all of the ingredients for the spice rub then rub into the pork tenderloins.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, sear the tenderloin on all sides for a total of about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat, leaving in pan.

While the tenderloin is browning, stir together the ingredients for the glaze. Spread the glaze over the tenderloin and transfer the skillet to the preheated oven. Roast until a a thermometer inserted into the meat reads 140 degrees, about 20 minutes. Remove the meat from the oven and tent with foil, let stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Adapted from Pennies on Platter, originally from The Gourmet Cookbook

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread


Do you know what today is? Friday, September 23rd, yes, but more importantly, the first day of fall! There might not be any leaves changing color or a crisp in the air, but I can still enjoy one of my favorite parts of fall. Pumpkin.

I can never wait for the official start of fall to bake with pumpkin and this year was no exception. I’ve already made my favorite pumpkin blondies and last weekend I whipped up something special to share with all on this special day. And oh man am I excited to share it with you. The light yeasted dough reminds me of a doughnut and the warmth from the rum glaze just screams fall. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Do you love pumpkin in baked goods?? Here’s some more!
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
Butterscotch and Pecan Pumpkin Cookies
Pumpkin Praline Cake
Pumpkin Quick Bread

 

What happens when your photo shoot starts to take too long!

Cinnamon Crumb Cake

If you “like” my page on Facebook, then you might remember last weekend when I posted about my perfect weekend morning. I was cozy on the couch with a freshly brewed cup of coffee in my hand and the smell of cinnamon crumb cake filled the apartment as it baked. OK, first I have to tell you how exciting the coffee part is. I finally broke down and bought a Keurig and I can not believe it took me this long. Yes I know, to some people it might seem silly, but Jesse doesn’t drink coffee and I usually only want one or two cups. So for me it’s perfect. And I bought the Kcup that I can fill with my own coffee when the samples run out. As you can probably tell, I’m more excited than I should be about coffee. 🙂

Now we can talk crumb cake. Or do you call it coffee cake? I searched both names to find a recipe that matched the vision in my head, and then I finally came across the perfect one, called a New York Style Coffee Cake. It was probably the inch and a half thick crumb on top that drew me in (and made me decide that Crumb Cake was a more fitting name). Man, I am so glad I came across this recipe. It was so so so good. The cake was moist and tender and the crumb topping was sweet, buttery, cinnamony, and just crunchy enough. By the way, do you like how I just add a “y” to words if I can’t figure out a better way of describing something? 🙂

Cinnamon Crumb Cake

(Adapted from Fake Ginger)

Ingredients

Crumb Topping

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
3/4 cup butter, cubed

Cake

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups plain yogurt *
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*I’ve been on a huge greek yogurt kick, so that’s what I used.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a glass/ceramic 9×13 dish with butter.

Mix together all of the dry crumb topping ingredients (flour through cinnamon). Drop cubes of butter into the mix. Start by using a pastry cutter, or two knives, to cut in the butter. When the butter is evenly distributed, use hands to squeeze it together then break it into crumbs. Do this until it seems well combined and you are making crumbs that are mostly about the size of peanuts. Set aside. **

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle, cream the butter. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Then add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides bowl before each addition and beating until fully incorporated. Add the yogurt and vanilla and beat until combined. Finally, add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, beating just until combined without lumps.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Smooth out the batter with a spatula. Scoop up the crumb topping with your fist and drop clumps of it onto the the batter until all of the crumb topping is used. It will seem like a LOT of crumb topping.

Bake for 45-65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the middle of the cake seems solid.***

Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before serving. If you like, mix together some milk and confectioners sugar and make a glaze.

**The original recipe called for melting the butter and stirring together, then drying out the mixture. I was already mixing my crumb topping when I realized this, but the way I did it worked out really well. I also decreased the amount of flour and butter.

***I know this seems like a wide spread for baking time, but the recipe called for 45-55 minutes and mine took an hour and 5 minutes. My oven can be weird. Check yours at 45 and just keep in mind that it can take up to an hour. If the edges seem to be getting overdone reduce the oven temperature to 325.

Cinnamon Rolls

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I think I have found the last Cinnamon Roll recipe I will ever need to try. I’ve been searching for a long time and I’ve tried several. In fact I posted a recipe on this blog not too long ago. But this recipe is exceptional. The dough was an absolute dream, smooth, sturdy, and elastic. I was worried at first because the dough seemed sticky, but I’m quickly learning that usually when I think a dough is too sticky to start it’s perfect after a good long first rise. A long rise may seem daunting, but think of all things you can do during that time. While waiting for this particular batch to rise I went shopping and had a slice of pizza at my new favorite pizza place, Hoboken (if I’m not going to make my own pizza at home, this is where I want to go!!). See how productive that time can be?

The other upside of this recipe is that it can be made ahead of time. I made these on Wednesday evening and froze them, Saturday night I set them out on the counter to defrost and rise. Makes me want to keep a batch in my freezer at all times, just for the those days when I need a cinnamon roll.

But the best part about these rolls is the final product. The roll itself is as close to perfect as the world will allow you to get. Texture, flavor, sweet to spicy ratio, it all gets a 10 in my book.

Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls
(Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, originally from America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Handbook)

Rolls-
3/4 cup buttermilk, warm (you can warm this in the microwave at 50% power for 1 minute)
6 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs
4 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt

Filling-
1 stick (8 oz) butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Frosting-
Disclaimer – I’ve never followed a strict recipe when it comes to cream cheese frosting. I start with cream cheese and butter and I add sugar and other flavors to match whatever I am making the frosting for. Sometimes I add brown sugar sometimes I don’t. For these rolls this is flavor combination I came up with and I thought it went perfectly with the rolls. I taste along the way and work until I like the flavor and consistency. Please use this ingredient list as a guide and create your own perfect frosting.
1/2 Block (4 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp buttermilk
1-2 cups confectioners sugar (depending on how runny/stiff you like your frosting)
1/4 cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla

In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the warmed buttermilk and butter. In the bowl of a standing mixer (fitted with a dough hook), combine 4 cups of flour, sugar, yeast and salt. With the mixer still running on low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and eggs. Run for 2 minutes until well combined, then increase the speed to medium and allow to knead for 10-15 minutes. If after a few minutes the dough continues to stick to the sides of the bowl add more flour, 1/4 cup at a time, just until it stops sticking. The dough will still feel slightly sticky to the touch.

Remove the dough from the bowl and set aside on a lightly floured surface. Wipe out, then spray the mixing bowl with cooking spray, or rub lightly with oil, return the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 2 to 2 1/2 hours in a draft free warm place (I turn the light on in my oven and keep it in there with the door closed).

When the dough has doubled in size remove from the bowl and place on a clean floured surface. Knead with hands for 2-3 minutes and then allow to rest for 2 minutes (during this short rest combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl). After the short rest shape the dough into a rectangle then roll out to approximately 16 inches by 12 inches.

Spread the softened butter on the dough leaving 1/2 inch border all around. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over the butter and use hands to lightly press the sugar into the butter.

Beginning with the edge closest to you, roll the dough into a tight log. Once rolled, even out the log by pulling gently and patting in the edges.

Cut 1/2-1 inch off of each side of the log to even the ends. Then cut the log in half with a serrated knife. Cut each half into thirds and then each third in half, so you end up with 12 even rolls. (In the illustration below, red, then orange, then green)

Prepare a 9×13 baking dish by placing a sheet of fitted parchment paper in the bottom of dish and spraying with non-stick cooking spray. Place rolls in pan, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 hour. This is also the point where you can freeze the rolls. Just be sure to cover tightly with plastic wrap and foil.

Bake at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes, until the rolls are lightly golden on top and cooked through but not overly browned.

For the frosting, beat together the cream cheese, butter, and buttermilk. Starting with a slow spead, add the brown sugar, confectioners sugar, and salt, and beat until well combined. Stir in the vanilla.

Add the frosting to the rolls while they are still warm so the gooey goodness starts to absorb into the rolls.